My friend walks into the cabin. I put the computer down. It’s a misty morning, and the fire hasn’t heated the room yet. He sits. I’m happy to see him.
My friend starts telling me about how his boy fell last week. Hard. Cracked his head open. Not the skull, but you could see bone through the blood, a cut like a v that moved up to the hairline. The boy had just turned one year old.
He said after the doctors had taken the boy in, the nurse at the desk was shaking. She asked him what his son’s name was. He said it, but she was staring off into space. She asked again, as though not knowing it was the second time.
Things like that can make you realize things you didn’t know before, he tells me. He never realized how much he could care about something, someone. My friend looks out the window, sips his coffee.
On the front of my chocolate bar is a Grizzly Bear, mouth open as though howling across a valley in the Montana wilderness. On the front of the bar it says, “Your dessert saves endangered species.”
An animal they might want to add to their next bar is a young farmer. The average age of farmers in America is 58. A dying industry has an average age of 35 or above.
If farming doesn’t make money, how are young people supposed to choose farming as a profession? How are they supposed to pay back student loans, pay for the dentist, or their kid’s education? Soon, who will be growing our food?
“We’re going to have the same scar,” my friend says. He bends over slightly, and you can see a white line just above his left eyebrow. “Only his will be higher.”
I ask him where it came from. “A car wreck,” he says.
“Bad?” I ask. He nods, takes his time.
“I remember coming to and realizing I couldn’t move.” He starts to move in his chair. “I tried to find the seat belt and couldn’t. And then I realized I hadn’t opened my eyes.”
He says he doesn’t remember the man coming up who found him, who saw him sandwiched in the crotch of a Douglas Fir, the driver-side door shaped to the curve of the tree. The metal was within an inch of my friends face.
As he was talking I took a moment to imagine that man who would tell this to my friend months later, describing what he saw before he ran.